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The title of this post is a nostalgic nod to Captain Haddock from Tintin comics whose patent line was “Billions of Blistering Blue Barnacles”. (Not that I’m alleging any greatness in writing comic bylines myself.)
To come to the point, I recently came across a few typos and spelling errors that so changed the meaning of the word intended that the blunders had me rolling on the floor – figuratively, of course. Here they are.
- An intimation of an impending temporary suspension of water supply to our apartment building to carry out certain repairs had this line at the end of the note. “Incontinence is regretted.” Uh, with no water in the toilets, I suppose incontinence would indeed be a regrettable state to be in.
- As part of a group discussion via e-mail on turning off lights during “Earth Hour” yesterday, a lady neighbour wrote, “Darkness brings out the breast in us.” I sincerely believe that she meant “beast” but I couldn’t help playing out the statement in my mind’s eye.
- Another e-mail said this: “In canvassing for votes, I personally mate several residents in the complex.” Wow, this is called taking public service to a whole new level!
Why, oh why, do people not read what they wrote before they hit ‘Send’?
Over the course of the years, I have found that some words are routinely misspelt more often than others. Here are some of them:
- Lose: This, according to me, is the most frequently misspelt/misused word today. I regularly encounter the term loose in place of lose. Come on, guys, loose is the opposite of tight, whereas lose is a verb that means to end up without.
- Effect: Many people use effect when they mean affect. The former means consequence while the latter means to influence. Effect can also be used in terms like “personal effects, special effects” etc. where it means ‘properties/characteristics’.
- Occasion: I’ve lost count of the number of invitations I’ve received asking me to ‘grace the occassion‘. Remember, just one s there.
- Mischievous: As kids, we were constantly being told to be good and not be mischevious (miss-chee-vee-yus). If you say it right (miss-chee-vus), chances are, you’ll spell it right too.
- Dais: Emcees have been known to call speakers/award recipients/chief guests to the dias. Again, if you pronounce it correctly, you cannnot go wrong with the spelling.
Can you think of any more misspelt words?
Announcing the launch of my “official” blog – one that will primarily deal with my work, i.e. writing and editing. It may also feature some reviews of books/movies. The exact content and structure will become clearer in the coming days. For now, this is an exciting beginning.
Bring it on, people!